News

New Paly athletic center to echo historic campus

Groundbreaking for state-of-the-art facility likely next June with 14-month construction

A new state-of-the-art athletic center for Palo Alto High School -- to break ground next May or June – will sit in the footprint of the school's two existing gyms and architecturally echo Paly's historic Tower Building.

The new complex -- two gyms connected by an enclosed loggia, or hallway -- will wrap around three sides of the existing swimming pool. The pool itself will not be disturbed.

Board of Education members Tuesday were enthusiastic as architect Jeremiah Tolbert walked them through "schematic designs" for the complex, which is to be funded largely by the Peery family of Palo Alto, which has sent three generations to Paly.

The new athletic facility should be ready for use for the fall of 2015, officials said, because of expedited construction under a "lease-leaseback" delivery method with Palo Alto contractor Vance Brown, who recently built a similar facility at Menlo School.

The new main gym will have a "Hall of Fame" corridor, a covered entry and large lobby with a ticket booth, concession stand and athletic store, a new large training room and space for visiting coaches, with a sunken main gym floor.

Team locker rooms will be directly off the main gym floor.

The hallway connecting the two gyms will be on the side of the swimming pool closest to Paly's quad.

Drawings of the "small gym" on the other side – toward El Camino Real – show a large arched window similar to that in Paly's historic Tower Building. In addition to a "small gym" that side will also contain pool locker rooms, a new wrestling/multi-purpose room, and a dance and yoga studio.

On a lower level will be physical education locker rooms, a P.E. classroom, a new larger weight room and storage.

During the year of construction, the 2014-15 school year, athletic and P.E. programs will be run out of portable classrooms on the quad as well as a temporary locker and restroom facility around Paly's wood shop. Officials said they may also erect a covered area near the new concessions building to create space for P.E. on rainy days, and also may use part of the existing student center for dance classes.

In addition, officials said they've contacted Stanford about renting temporary facilities, but will likely keep the Paly pool open because Stanford may not have pool space available.

Tolbert, the architect for the athletic center, said he's kept in close touch with architect Erwin Lee, who is designing many other upgrades to the Paly campus. Among those are a planned addition to the science building, which will look out onto the athletic center.

"Erwin and I talk about materials -- they're going to be compatible -- and we've talked in the midst of design," Tolbert told the board.

"We've talked about having the two complement each other, but they're their own separate structures."

The science addition, to be constructed at the same time as the athletic center, will include four new science labs, a "mini-prep" area, a staff room and renovations to the existing science resource center.

The science addition is part of a major, district-wide construction program covered by the $378 million "Strong Schools" bond past by voters in 2008. At Paly alone, the bond is funding a new, two-story classroom building, a new media arts building and major upgrades to the track and football stadium and the Tower Building.

Additionally, construction will begin soon on a new, 600-seat performing arts center on the Embarcadero Road side of the Paly campus, officials said.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:30 am

Will definitely be a nice addition to campus. But, a few questions/comments:

1) Didnt't Paly just build a new science building not too far back, maybe 6 years ago? It already needs to expand? When will a third high school open to alleviate the need to cram 2200 kids into a campus built for 1700?

2) When will the school stop being a construction zone and get back to being a school?

3) Thank you Peery Foundation for the donation.


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:39 am

Wonder how long it will take for the District to get sued by the contractors for their failure to perform up to their promises?


Like this comment
Posted by Katherine
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:04 am

Thank you Peery family!! This project will be a wonderful addition to Paly.


Like this comment
Posted by Suit happens
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:04 am

PAUSD is already involved in a lawsuit with a Japanese contractor. That contractor is well-known for suing clients all over the world.


Like this comment
Posted by Confused
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

To me, that only looks like one gym... I don't see how the loggia connects what could possibly be two gymnasiums unless the main gym is really really sunken...

The architectural design will definitely make it in line with the more historic buildings on campus, but why not go for a more contemporary take on the style like we see at Stanford? Seems like a great opportunity somewhat wasted...


Like this comment
Posted by ES
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

@Confused. I see two gyms in the renderings. One is on either side of the pool.


Like this comment
Posted by Confused
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:53 am

@ES That looks like a single story structure to me, but perhaps it's a really sunken gym... or an outdoor gym on the rooftop?


Like this comment
Posted by Chris Kenrick, Palo Alto Weekly Staff Writer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:57 am

The gym on the right side in the two photos is sunken. The one on the left is at grade.


Like this comment
Posted by PA parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Beautiful, at least as drawn.

@ Jim H.

If my recollection serves me well, the science building opened nine years ago (school year 2004-2005). I had a child who was then a senior and had a class in the brand new building that year.


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm

My kids were in elementary school when B 4 E started, continued through middle school. Now in Paly, our whole school experience has been portables, construction and making do. What school memories so many of our kids are going to have!


Like this comment
Posted by PA parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm

@ Jim H

I agree with you. As a matter of fact, our PA schools have been one large construction site for 15 or more years now. My kids have almost always known construction throughout.

I've always wondered about the health impact on our children of so much noise and dust but no one seems to have echoed my misgivings.


Like this comment
Posted by Not the worst
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm

The construction mess is not the worst of it. Fully half of the Paly buildings are plagued by noise and shaking from Cal Train. Just imagine how bad it will be when HSR goes through!

According to my son, it is currently VERY disruptive.


Like this comment
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm

The Richard Peery family knows how to get things done. These buildings will be well built, well designed, come in on budget and be finished on schedule.
Thank you Peery family for your generosity.


Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Thank you, Peery family!


Like this comment
Posted by Shanna
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Thank you to the Peery Family!


Like this comment
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Finally, Nice Classic Architecture that fits..
Good Job, Extremely good Job..


Like this comment
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:31 pm

The design here is a good counterexample to the Hamilton Ave project. Fits the existing style while being true to its function.


Like this comment
Posted by PA parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:37 pm

@ not the worst

You are obviously not very familiar with (fast) trains. Having lots of experience with trains (including HSR style trains), I can tell you that, first of all, electric trains are very quiet overall, and for sure, much, much quieter than the current diesel Caltrain.

Then, regarding the shaking, if the trains are to go really fast on this segment of their route, the rails will be replaced with much more advanced ones, and the shaking won't be so bad, if there is any. If the trains don't go that fast on this segment, then there won't be much shaking in the first place. There is also a relatively wide space between the school buildings and the tracks.

Lastly, only one row of classrooms on the very far eastern section of campus are impacted. In all honesty, I've spent lots of time on Paly campus and I have barely noticed the trains there if ever.

HSR will make the current train noise much better, not worse. There is a lot of disinformation out there on HSR. The noise issue is part of the disinformation.


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Many worked hard on our new pool at Paly, and donated monies. The rendering seems to threaten the existing aquatic experience for student athletes - the scoreboard, lighting, bleachers, offices are gone. The arches by the pool would be fenced given the pool's security. Pool access seems not developed. I hope a few involved in aquatics can participate.


Like this comment
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 12, 2013 at 1:14 am

@PA parent - You might think you are familiar with HSR, but have you read the environmental impact report? It has a chart that shows HSR is louder than commuter rail. It might be quieter at the same speed, but at full speed it is substantially louder, even than freight trains.

You can see the chart here:
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

Bob: scoreboard will move to opposite end of pool - above existing pump house. Lights stay. Pump house stays. Deck space same size. The upgrade will be bathrooms accessible on the pool deck and coaches will get real offices.


Like this comment
Posted by ES
a resident of Southgate
on Sep 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm

I would also like to add a huge "thank you" to the Peery family for this generous donation. And I agree with "Palo Altan" who says that the Peerys know how to get the project well built, well designed, come in on budget and be finished on schedule. I understand that as part of the donation, it was specified that they would choose contractor, architect, etc.


Like this comment
Posted by Nice, but...
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 13, 2013 at 1:39 pm

This is great, and THANX, Peery Foundation, but what Paly really, really needs, according to generations of students, current and former, is some sound-dampening insulation and movement-control foundations in the buildings on the east side of the campus. The buildings in the vicinity of the CalTrain tracks shake, rattle and hum whenever a train goes by, to say nothing about the shock of the deafening noise. tIt is apparently hugely disruptive, as thousands of former students (and current ones) can testify. Teachers don't care for it much, either


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 13, 2013 at 1:51 pm

The Peerys are experienced so it should go smoothly, unlike the City of Palo Alto projects. Thank you, Peerys!


2 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 13, 2014 at 11:21 am

I spent 4 years at Paly and had classes in the classrooms closest to the tracks. I don't recall Caltrain ever being an issue. Are you people anti-public transportation and/or anti-HSR?


Like this comment
Posted by PalyAlumni
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Feb 17, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Quit your whining and be happy that the Peery Family has made this generous donation. Typical Palo Altans, calling in the Police because your neighbor is cooking cabbage and you don't like how it smells. Get over yourselves about train noise and portables! New buildings have to be done sometime! And they can't just do it in one summer when kids are out of school.


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Dad
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2014 at 12:12 am

Lived next to the train tracks for over 15 years and sent two children through Paly - The noise is NOT an issue unless you just what to complain about something. The new gym upgrades are decades behind the rest of silicon valley. Some complained and objected to the new fields especially the old upper field - now look at how well received they are. progress takes patience and will not negative shortsightedness.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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